We are now just as close to the apocalypse as we were in 1953, when Cold War fears reached peak levels, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has concluded. As a result, scientists moved the symbolic Doomsday Clock, a metaphorical measure of mankind's proximity to nuclear catastrophe, to two minutes to “midnight,” or the end of humanity.
The “grim assessment” stems from the current state of geopolitical affairs, the organization announced.
In a statement to the press, Bulletin President Rachel Bronson said, “As of today, it is two minutes to midnight,” in great part because of “the failure of President [Donald] Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.”
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have set their barometer of global nuclear instability to just two minutes to midnight. That's tied w/ the closest it's been to the prospect of global nuclear annihilation (1953) since the clock's creation in 1947.— Charlotte Clymer?????? (@cmclymer) January 25, 2018
So much winning.#DoomsdayClock
As the Doomsday Clock moves thirty seconds closer to midnight, a critical reminder that nuclear war is easier to start than to avoid https://t.co/3CTjokhP0R— WIRED (@WIRED) January 25, 2018
Scientists have moved the Doomsday Clock closer to the symbolic "apocalypse" — it's now 2 minutes to midnight. pic.twitter.com/YY7dfca3du— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 25, 2018
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Bulletin officials Lawrence M. Krauss and Robert Rosner explained that, much like in 1953, the world is close to a nuclear disaster.
“To call the world nuclear situation [and its immediacy] dire is to understate the danger,” Rosner explained. “North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region and the United States.”
Last year, after the United States tested its first thermonuclear device, the clock inched closer to “midnight” as scientists advanced it 30 seconds and put it at two and a half minutes to “doomsday.” Now, the group has advanced it another 30 seconds.
In an email ahead of Bulletin’s announcement, Alex Wellerstein, specialist in nuclear weapons at the Stevens Institute of Technology, said that the clock has nowhere to go but forward.
“We have members of Congress, White House advisers, and even the president implying that they think war with a nuclear state is not only likely, but potentially desirable.”
He then added that this reality is “unusual and disturbing.”
Our thoughts exactly.
Perhaps, if Trump were to change his ways and take on a more diplomatic approach to his relationship with other world leaders, then the Bulletin might change the clock back. Until then, however, we’re not holding our collective breath.